Leptin is a multifunctional hormone encoded of the ob gene, plays an important role in food intake and energy homeostasis. Recent studies indicated that the role of leptin is much broader, such as the regulation of reproduction and hibernation. But so far the limited study of leptin and its receptor has investigated in Chinese alligator, Alligator sinensis. Therefore, we reported the presence and location of leptin and its receptor in different tissues of Chinese alligator by immunohistochemistry analysis. This study aims to access the possible effect of leptin in Chinese alligator. The results showed that immunoreactivity of leptin was observed in the adipocyte of white adipose tissue, the gastric gland of the stomach, the lamina propria of the intestine and the interstitial cell and seminiferous tubule of testis, leptin receptor staining was detected in the adipocyte of white adipose tissue, the gastric gland and submucosa of the stomach, the submucosa, muscular layer and intestine villi of the intestine, the granulose cell and follicular membrane cell of the ovary and the interstitial cell and seminiferous tubule of the testis. Moreover, we investigated seasonal changes of leptin in plasma of Chinese alligator by radioimmunoassay method. Our results demonstrated circulating leptin levels varied significantly over the season. Therefore, we hypothesize that leptin is involved in nutrient stores, absorption and utilization, and reproductive behavior of the Chinese alligator.
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